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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Psychological well-being of ruminative adolescents during the transition to COVID-19 school closures: An EMA study

Caroline M. Swords; Emma K. Lecarie; Leah D. Doane (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescence

Adolescents with moderate-to-severe levels of trait rumination are at heightened risk for psychopathology and may be particularly vulnerable to disruptions caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As most past research documenting the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent well-being has been cross-sectional, it is unclear exactly how ruminative adolescents responded to the onset of the pandemic as it unfolded. This study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to explore changes in rumination among adolescents during the initial transition to distance learning in the United States. A subsample of 22 ruminative youth (Mage = 13.58; SD = 0.96; 54.5% male; 86.4% White) from a larger study provided EMA data throughout January–April 2020 (M responses per participant = 105.09, SD = 65.59). Following school closures, the study hypothesized that adolescents would report greater rumination (i.e., focusing on emotions and problems) and depressive symptom level would moderate this effect.

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms among high school students in China in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown

Chengqi Cao; Li Wang; Ruojiao Fang (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms, and associated risk factors among a large-scale sample of adolescents from China after the pandemic and lockdown. A total of 57,948 high school students took part in an online survey from July 13 to 29, 2020. The mental health outcomes included anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms. Risk factors included negative family relationships, COVID-19 related exposure, and a lack of social support.

A critical assessment of the potential vertical transmission hypotheses: Implications for research on the early-life infection with COVID-19

Mengqin Yang; Qiuqin Wang; Yulei Song (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Placenta
The risk of potential vertical transmission in SARS-CoV-2 infected pregnant women is currently a topic of debate. To explore the correlation between the two, this study searched PubMed, Embase®, and Web of Science for studies on vertical transmission of COVID-19. The quality of the studies was evaluated by the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Detailed information of each included case including methods of delivery, protection measures for mothers and neonates at birth, types of specimens, inspection time, results of testing and feeding patterns was collected to assess the possibility of vertical transmission.
Health disparities and their effects on children and their caregivers during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Lynn C. Smitherman; William Christopher Golden; Jennifer R. Walton

Published: October 2021   Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America

Health disparities are defined as differences among specific populations in the ability to achieve full health potential (as measured by differences in incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of disease, and other adverse health conditions). Among children, multiple factors contribute to these disparities, including economic stability, and access to health care. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, before the current pandemic, 12 million children in the United States were living in poverty in 2019, including one-third of African American and Native American children and 25% of Latinx children.8 During the same period, of the 4.4 million children without health insurance, 14% were Native American, 9% were of Hispanic descent, and 18% were immigrants. At present, owing to the impact of the pandemic on job security, more than 50% of African American, Latinx, and multiethnic adults are now without medical insurance, directly affecting the health security of their children.8 With the onset of the pandemic and the social and political upheaval felt by many disenfranchised communities, these well-documented disparities (and the importance of addressing them) have again been brought to the attention of the medical community. This overview will examine the effects of these health disparities in various populations of children in this country. We will first examine the historical context of health disparities, how they developed, and why they still exist. We will then examine how specifically the COVID-19 pandemic impacted these disparities among children and adolescents, both directly and indirectly. Finally, we hope to provide some recommendations to reduce these disparities.

Child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic rapid review

Ashley Rapp; Gloria Fall; Abigail C. Radomsky (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America
It is estimated that each year more than 1 million children worldwide are victims of physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Collectively, this violence has been termed child maltreatment (CM) and defined by the World Health Organization as “the abuse and neglect that occurs to children under 18 years of age.”1 The impacts of CM are multifaceted, having short- and long-term consequences on a child’s attitudes and behaviors, as well as their mental and physical well-being.23456 Increases in CM have been well-documented in association with increased parental stress,7 during and after recessions and epidemics, such as the Ebola and AIDS crises.8910 Continuing to understand the situations that create, perpetuate, and amplify CM are of the utmost importance to then lower the rates of CM and decrease their impact. Thus, the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its subsequent impacts have become an area of interest and concern for linkages to CM.
COVID-19 and schools: what is the risk of contagion? Results of a rapid-antigen-test-based screening campaign in Florence, Italy

Guglielmo Bonaccorsi; Sonia Paoli; Massimiliano Alberto Biamonte (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Infectious Diseases

In the coronavirus disease 2019 era, debate around the risk of contagion in school is intense in Italy. The Department of Welfare and Health of Florence promoted a screening campaign with rapid antigen tests for all students and school personnel. The aim of this study was to assess the circulation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the school setting by means of mass screening in every primary and middle school in Florence. All students and school personnel at primary and middle schools in Florence were asked to take part. The campaign started on 16 November 2020 and was completed on 12 February 2021. If a subject had a positive result on rapid antigen testing, a molecular test was performed to confirm the result.

Mental health and social support of caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disorders during COVID-19 pandemic

Chongying Wang

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

Previous studies showed that caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders had higher levels of parenting stress, anxiety and depression. In the present study, the author examined the caregivers’ mental health and investigated the mediating role of social support between symptoms severity and parenting stress during COVID-19. During 20 March to 8 April 2020, 1932 caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disorders from China were enrolled to fill in a sociodemographic questionnaire, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale and Social Support Rating Scale. The author also collected children's disability severity symptoms and behavioral problems.

Innovative methods for remote assessment of neurobehavioral development

Hanna C. Gustafsson; Anna S. Young; Gayle Stamos (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, research institutions across the globe have modified their operations in ways that have limited or eliminated the amount of permissible in-person research interaction. In order to prevent the loss of important developmentally-timed data during the pandemic, researchers have quickly pivoted and developed innovative methods for remote assessment of research participants. This manuscript describes methods developed for remote assessment of a parent child cohort with a focus on examining the perinatal environment, behavioral and biological indicators of child neurobehavioral development, parent-child interaction, as well as parent and child mental and physical health.
Early exploration of COVID-19 vaccination safety and effectiveness during pregnancy: interim descriptive data from a prospective observational study

Inna Bleicher; Einav Kadour-Peero; Lena Sagi-Dain (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Vaccine
During December 2020, a massive vaccination program was introduced in our country. The Pfizer-BioNTech, BNT162b2 vaccine was first offered exclusively to high-risk population, such as medical personnel (including pregnant women). This study compares short term outcomes in vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated pregnant women. In this prospective observational cohort study, vaccinated and non-vaccinated pregnant women were recruited using an online Google forms questionnaire targeting medical groups on Facebook and WhatsApp. A second questionnaire was sent one month after the first one for interim analysis.
Using fake news as means of cyber-bullying: The link with compulsive internet use and online moral disengagement

Alexandra Maftei; Andrei-Corneliu Holman; Ioan-Alex Merlici

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Online moral disengagement and cyberbullying can enhance fake news spreading. We explored the links between these variables and compulsive Internet use in a sample of 509 teenagers and adults aged 11 to 67. We investigated the effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through fake news creation and/or distribution, both direct and via moral disengagement, and the related differences between adults and teenagers. The indirect effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through moral disengagement was significant in adolescents, but not in adults. As assumed, teenagers scored significantly higher than adults on all the primary variables. Contrary to our expectations, no significant gender differences emerged, regardless of participants' age, in terms of compulsive Internet use, moral disengagement, nor cyberbullying. The results emphasize the importance of relevant online education programs designed to engage both teenagers and adults in critical thinking that might help in the fake news detection process, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and educational inequality: How school closures affect low- and high-achieving students

Elisabeth Grewenig; Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Economic Review
In spring 2020, governments around the globe shut down schools to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. This study argues that low-achieving students may be particularly affected by the lack of educator support during school closures. It collects detailed time-use information on students before and during the school closures in a survey of 1099 parents in Germany.
Physically distant, virtually close: Adolescents’ sexting behaviors during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chelly Maes; Laura Vandenbosch

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
This study contextualizes Belgian adolescents' (12–18 years old) sexting behaviors between romantic and non-romantic partners during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey among 543 Belgian respondents (Mage = 15.29, 68% girls) showed that 40.9% of the adolescents engaged in at least one type of sexting (i.e., type one = textual, type two = visual content with underwear/swimwear, type three = visual depiction of private parts, type four = visual depiction of sexual acts). Arousal needs were the most common reasons to sext (M = 3.33, SD = 1.89). Generalized ordered logit analyses show that higher arousal needs were linked to higher frequencies of the first three sexting types. Relational affirmation needs were related to the engagement in sexting type two, whereas partner pressure was related to sexting type three and four. Regarding the latter, a significant link was also found with stress regulation. Conditional relations emerged according to adolescents' sex, developmental status, and relationship status. The current study's findings not only help to inform practitioners in terms of behavioral advice for future pandemics or periods after social isolation, but can also offer explanations for (changes in) adolescents' sexting behaviors after the pandemic and the possible dual nature of its effects.
Internet use during COVID-19 lockdown among young people in low- and middle-income countries: Role of psychological wellbeing

Blossom Fernandes; Bilge Uzun; Caner Aydin (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Addictive Behaviors Reports
Problematic internet use in adolescents has been shown to significantly increase over the past few years, with COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns reinforcing this phenomena globally. This study sought to explore whether problematic internet use in specific countries was related to emotional well-being and importantly whether this is predicted by psychological distress. There is a growing number of studies showing that problematic internet use is increasingly prevalent in countries with emerging economies, however we have yet to find out to what extent other factors are influencing this behaviour in adolescents and young people. This study invited young people from countries such India, Mexico, Philippines and Turkey to complete a set of self-reports on their daily internet habits, social media use, alongside questions on psychological distress, self-esteem, loneliness and escapism.
Cybervictimization and well-being among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating roles of emotional self-efficacy and emotion regulation

Fabian Schunk; Franziska Zeh; Gisela Trommsdorff

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Cybervictimization has been linked to adverse psychological consequences but little is known about the mechanisms linking cybervictimization to lower well-being. Two studies examined emotional self-efficacy and distinct emotion regulation strategies as potential mediators in the relationship between cybervictimization and lower well-being among German adolescents during the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. In Study 1, 107 adolescents (Mage = 15.76) reported their cybervictimization frequency, emotional self-efficacy beliefs, and aspects of well-being (i.e., self-esteem, perceived social support, and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 related school closures). Emotional self-efficacy mediated the link between cybervictimization and all well-being measures. Specifically, cybervictimization was related to lower well-being through lower self-efficacy for managing negative emotions. For further examination, in Study 2, 205 adolescents (Mage = 15.45) were asked to report their cybervictimization experiences, use of specific emotion regulation strategies (rumination, reappraisal, and suppression), and well-being (i.e., self-esteem and life satisfaction).
Mental health trajectories of individuals and families following the COVID-19 pandemic: Study protocol of a longitudinal investigation and prevention program

Till Langhammer; Kevin Hilbert; Berit Praxl (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Mental Health & Prevention

Many adults, adolescents and children are suffering from persistent stress symptoms in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to characterize long-term trajectories of mental health and to reduce the transition to manifest mental disorders by means of a stepped care program for indicated prevention. Using a prospective-longitudinal design, we will assess the mental strain of the pandemic using the Patient Health QuestionnaireStrength and Difficulties Questionnaire and Spence Child Anxiety Scale.

1 - 15 of 2936

UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.